Love 'em or loathe 'em. 29" wheels are here to stay. The benefits of larger-diameter wheels - increased momentum and improved traction - on endurance mountain bikes are compelling enough to have built a loyalist following amongst trail riders across the globe; GT is committed to providing these riders with bikes they want by providing a 29" option for each bike in the Endurance line up.
Frame: GT design 29 inch hydroformed Kinesis Superlight custom tube-set Machined Head tube, disc compatible
Fork: Rock Shox REBA SL 9'r , 100mm of travel, 7050 al steerer, Dual Air sprung with rebound damping and motion control
Crankset / Chainwheel: Shimano SLX, with Hollowtech 2 piece arm and bb,
Bottom Bracket: Shimano SLX out board sealed bearings
Pedals: Shimano PDM-520
Front Derailleur: Shimano SLX
Rear Derailleur: Shimano SLX shadow
Shifters: Shimano SLX nine speed
Chain: Shimano Nine Speed
Rims: WTB Laser Disc rim with Shimano SLX hubset, DT Swiss Champion spokes with brass npples
Strengths: Tank like construction. Great all around capabilities.
Weaknesses: Probably a personal preference thing; the handlebar had too much flex.
What can I say about the GT Zaskar 9er Expert? I love it. It's simple, it's not the best. It's just great. It is not the lightest but it can be ridden all day.
The thing about this bike is that it, for whatever reason, makes you want to ride, ride, and ride some more. The components on the expert are well picked. I've experienced no problems with them after one year of riding. I've put about 1,000 miles on it without a hitch. This, of course, is not counting the crashes.
The design compromises excellence in many areas so that it can be great in many. If you are an avid rider that doesn't make excuses the Zaskar will not disappoint. It doesn't turn as sharply as a Flash or a Stumpjumper, for example. However, it does hold a line beautifully. While not as nimble as other platforms it is extremely forgiving. I can't exactly explain it. You must ride it to understand.
I've raced with this bike through one season and I was pleased. It finished every race and even saw me to one podium finish. Although I will be replacing this machine with a carbon Cdale Flash, I will not be releasing it from the stable. Whenever I want to go out onto new trails this is the bike I will choose. It's like a swiss army knife.
Favorite Trail: Middle Run, White Clay, Fair Hill, Iron Hill.
Duration Product Used: 1 year.
Purchased At: Wooden Wheels
Bike Setup: Stock except for Stans Flows wheels.
a Weekend Warrior
from Durham, CT
Date Reviewed: April 22, 2011
Strengths: Good parts spec for the $ (full SLX gruppo)
Geometry dialed for technical riding
Weaknesses: Not much... could be lighter I suppose, especially the wheelset.
Wow, I must say I'm pretty impressed. I'm coming off of a Yeti 575, and I wanted a bike that would have snappier pedaling, climb well, and still be able to handle the techy stuff. I decided to take the plunge on a 29er HT w/ a Thudbuster. I picked up a 2010 Zaskar from REI, size Small. I'm 5'8", 165lbs, 30" inseam. The Small Zaskar has a 22.5" TT, 42.3" wheelbase, and a bent TT which gives LOTS of standover. The geometry feels absolutely dialed for technical riding- with short TT and wide riser bars, it definitely fits more like a trail bike than a racing bike. With the Thudbuster, 29" wheels, and high-volume tires (Kenda Karma 2.2s, which are AMAZING!), I honestly feel it doesn't lose anything to the Yeti on technical New England singletrack. It climbs pretty well (as well as the 575), though I'm sure lighter wheels, bar ends, etc. would help. Total weight with the Thudbuster is 27.5 lbs. If you're on a budget, this deal is hard to beat.
a Weekend Warrior
from Central WA
Date Reviewed: April 14, 2011
Strengths: This is for the 2011 GT expert 29er, black-on-black-on-black... (the other threads seem to be for the 2010). I'm an intermediate rider back into the sport for about two years now. I put in a good 35+ miles a week on rocky steep single-track and was looking to get into a solid 29er (my first) at a decent price. I took a bit of a gamble (not a lot of reviews out there on the 2011) and I'm glad I did. The bike sticks amazingly well, barrels when it should, climbs like a goat, and just feels well-balanced, fast and smooth. Compared to the other bikes I researched in this range the components are higher than you'd expect (like the 2X10 and SLX shifters). Everything just glides on this bike. My LBS gave me some wiggle room on the price (bless the independents), but after riding 200+ miles I'd say even the full retail price ($1900) would've been worth it....
Weaknesses: The Formula RX brakes feel perfect BUT--like A LOT of people riding with them who have griped all over the internet--I've had periodic problems with crazy squeaking and chattering... I switched to sintered pads (from the stock organics) and that may solve the problem (the verdict is still out...one case of insane vibrations during a long downhill). Formula should really address this design glitch because according to dozens of threads out there, it is the rule, not the exception... the product is flawed. That said, it's a problem but not a deal-breaker... worst case scenario, I think different rotors will fix it.
My LBS gave me some wiggle room on the price (bless the independents), but after riding 200+ miles I'd say even the full retail price ($1900) would've been worth it....